Musings from the Aquamarine: March's birthstone
I love stories, and the stories hidden behind gemstones are no exception. Learning about their history, their lore and their uses fascinates me. And Aquamarine (March's birthstone) is no exception. It is known as the gem of the sea, despite first being commercially mined far from the sea in Siberia, in 1723. Later, large deposits were found in Western Europe and even as far as Marambaya in Brazil, where the largest Aquamarine stone ever found was discovered in 1910, weighing over 110 kg! It was mined and cut into many gems, with an astonishing total weight of over 100,000 carats.
Aquamarine, March's birthstone: History & Lore
It has been treasured and adored by the higher echelons of society for thousands of years, dating back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans who carved Aquamarine into intaglios, and Aquamarine beads have even been found buried alongside ancient Egyptian mummies.
Myths surrounding this gem conjure images of fairytales and fireside stories, handed down through the generations. Reputed to be spilt from the treasure chests of sirens that would lure Sailors to their death, it was thought by Roman sailors and travellers to bring luck so would be worn or carried as a talisman to ensure safe travel and prevent sea sickness.
The ancient philosopher Pliny paid tribute to this gem, stating, "the lovely aquamarine, which seems to have come from some mermaid's treasure house, in the depths of a summer sea, has charms not to be denied."
Aquamarine's Watery origins
The name Aquamarine comes from the latin for Water of the Sea (Aqua Marina) and aptly is the principal stone for Pisces. Thought to allow the wearer to move freely and flow through life with ease, tempering mood swings and strengthening the throat chakra, allowing voices to be heard. It is said to help quieten the mind and calm, which aligns also with colour theory, that the gentle blue of aquamarine is a hue to bring to mind feelings of calmness and relaxation.
This sea-like colour comes from the presence of iron in Beryl, an otherwise colourless stone in it's pure state. The addition of particular metals to Beryl provide the colour, and transform it into either Aquamarine, Emerald, Goshenite, Heliodor, Morganite or Red Beryl.
As it is a fairly hard stone, at 7.5-8.0 on the Mohs scale, it is fairly robust, and with good care should last a lifetime. It can easily be cleaned with warm soapy water, and as long as there are no liquid inclusions or fractures present it can also be cleaned with steam or ultra-sonic cleaners.
Aquamarine is beautiful gemstone, steeped in history and a delight to wear. And if it can bring some calm and relaxation to my life then I will gladly invite into my life! Perhaps this is my sign I need to make more Aquamarine pieces...
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